Public Relations Strategy Term Paper

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Public Relations Strategy

Public relations can be defined as a premeditated and continued effort to institute and maintain benevolence and mutual understanding between an organization and its audiences. This is a discipline which takes care of reputation, aspiring to earn understanding and support and influencing judgment and habit (Applegate, 2006). The most important element of public relations is communication thus it is significant to have a strong communication strategy which will ensure that publicity is well developed. For a healthcare insurance organization to succeed, it is mandatory that the targeted audiences are aware of its existence, its operating policies and the benefits that it offers over and above other similar organizations.

A communication strategy if not well planned may end up being a complete failure and this may happen when there are no specific objectives or if such objectives are not met in a case where they exist. The very first objective of a communication strategy is to inform people on the status of the organization and its operations, when people are well informed then they have the chance to make relevant decisions with regard to the organizations. Such a strategy should also aim at developing increased commitment, from simple awareness to membership, of the organization by giving an answer to the question "what does this organization and its services mean to me?" For all audiences. There should also be a focus on communication to effectively prepare the organization for its rollout and to build support for all the projects that are planned in different departments within the organization. The last and most important objective of a communication strategy is to monitor the effectiveness of communication through which necessary changes and adjustments can be done in order to improve the communication. It would be useless for an organization to continue communicating to its audiences without verifying whether the efforts made are fruitful thus the strategy comes in handy to ensure that this is monitored.

For any communication method to be effective then it needs to be tailored to specific groups of audiences, regular and informative, and be in real-time and relevant. Additionally, the content of the communication should be of interest to the target audience, create expectations, and answer "what does it mean to me" question (Applegate, 2004). It is also significant that regular communications be delivered by the persons who hold the highest credibility with every audience. Most importantly is the cost involved in relaying the communication, the most cost-effective method will be the most desirable one. These features could have varied strengths depending on the targeted audience in this case the health insurance organization targets the middle income earning population. This category of individuals makes the highest population in developed countries but have very low percentage in terms of subscription to health insurance services. This reluctance is brought about by lack of information among them with most of them not being aware of the benefits of such services while a good number still believe it is meant for the extremely rich individuals, a case that is completely untrue since the middle income earners can comfortably afford to pay for the health insurance services.

When carrying out public relations it is obvious that a number of challenges will be faced which leads to many organizations seeking for the assistance of professionals. Regardless of who carries out the public relations exercise, there are important tools that are available for public relations and must be used, the choice of these tools depend on the targeted audience and the kind of information being communicated, the most appropriate communication tools for a health insurance organization are internet, open house, press conference, sponsorships, and community event.

Press conference is a tool that can as well be referred to as media relations and it includes all efforts to publicize the organization to members of the press such as radio, television, and the print media. This is done by creating appealing and germane story angles that are pitched to the media; these include stories about the organization, its products, and its spokespeople (Wylie, 2004). It is important to note that no payments are made for media placements while very good stories can be developed. This tool can use such instruments as press kits, audio or video news releases, matte release, and website press room. Since this involve all press media there are high chance that almost all the targeted audience will get the communication and will trust such information. It should be noted that this differs from advertising in the media which is paid for and usually channeled through advertising agencies.

The other important tool that is productive is community events or special events; these may range from stunts to receptions to elegant dinners. This tool can be applied in a case where a specific constricted audience is targeted such as individuals interested in college health insurance plans and even to major events. Several stunts can also be done which attract the attention of an audience in the surrounding area, while at the same time attracting the attention of mass media such as major newspapers and television news, thus providing a wide reach. It is important that the planners of such events work so hard to ensure that the message conveyed in the programs are correct and a positive image is relayed to the target audience. When such events are carried out effectively, they can help the organization weather poor publicity or a crisis situation that can unpredictably come up due to a fault with a product, disreputable behavior by management, or even by untrue rumors (Wilcox and Cameron, 2006).

Sponsorships can be used by the organization to assist build goodwill and brand recognition by relating to an event or group. It is important to examine sponsorship opportunities to find those that get to the target groups, fit within a particular budget and offer sponsorship benefits that go with the marketer's objectives. These sponsorships may be at the local, national, or international levels ranging from local art center or Olympics events. While seeking for sponsors, information such as audience, and exposure opportunities, are provided, these can be used by the organization to help in matching the sponsorship opportunities and the organization's objectives. This tool is very appropriate for the middle income earners as they are certain to appreciate the effort made by the organization thus portray a positive image of the organization and positive reception of it products.

It is also very important to have a constant communication between the organization and the employees and one way of doing this is through open house events in addition to regular communication. This will make employees informed of sales inducements, corporate programs, personnel matters, in addition to keeping them updated on new products and programs. Open house events are also encouraged since it is in such events that employees can be willing to give feedback to the management and share their thoughts openly. This is important since the image of the organization is seen through the employees thus the public or targeted audience will get as much information as that which is known by the employees.

The 21st century is marked by major advancements in technology with everyone struggling to adapt to their use thus having a communication channel without including the internet can be a rather suicidal move. Internet use has been embraced by almost all companies and organizations because of its obvious advantages; it is one of the most effective tools of public relations due to the wide population that it covers. Accessing the internet is becoming cheaper each passing day thus allowing a wider population to get information through it; at the same time it is also cheaper for the organization to use it as a means of communication. It is only necessary that the right content and outlook is incorporated into the organization's web pages so that it becomes easier for the targeted audience to identify it.

It is possible for a public relations practitioner to be caught in a lawsuit or a case with a government regulatory agency and also be held liable for providing illegal advice or misleading information (Clark, 2000). The common cases include defamation which involves false or malicious communication causing loss to another; this can be through all of the tools mentioned above. The organization is not allowed to use any of the tools to relay such misleading information. It is also an offence for the organization to invade the privacy of an individual or other organization through its communication tools and written permission should be obtained before publishing some private information. In a case where some else's material has been used in the communication process it is necessary to go by the copyright laws failure to which the owner of the copyrighted material could take legal action against the organization (Wilcox and Cameron, 2006).

Trademarks are used to identify organizations and their products thus it is not right to use another organization's trademark in making communication since the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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